When CHANEL invite you to Paris for twenty-four hours for a private tour of the CHANEL No5 exhibition the only possible responses are ‘Yes, please‘ and ‘Thank you‘ and ‘When do we leave?’
A shiny black car whisked me to St Pancras Station yesterday morning, and within a few hours we were ensconced in the rococo splendour of the Hotel Le Meurice on the rue de Rivoli.
It was a ravishing day in Paris, with blue skies and blossom petals falling. The Tuileries opposite have never looked more appealing, but I had work to do, so I ordered room service and settled in for the afternoon.
These were the scrambled eggs of legend, nestled in a ring of sauteed oyster mushrooms. I ate them piled on to baguettes slathered with butter. There may also have been some pommes allumette dipping action going on.
the comfort of the bed was such that I fell asleep over my laptop, and was awoken only by a gentle tap on the door, when a package of treats from CHANEL was delivered.
We convened downstairs at 1830hrs for the short walk to the rue Cambon, where a treat beyond compare had been arranged: a private tour of Mademoiselle Chanel’s personal apartment. It is never opened to the public, and we were thrilled to have been invited. Fortified by a coupe in the haute couture salon, we climbed the beige (the exact colour of the sand in Deauville) carpeted stairs to her rooms. (More of this later.)
Me standing on the afore-mentioned staircase.
The haute couture client salon on the first floor of rue Cambon.
After our visit, we walked back down the rue Saint Honore to the Costes, for dinner in the courtyard.
We were eight for supper, and ate and drank the most delicious things: to go with the Bellinis, and the Chablis, there was spicy lobster spaghetti (their description), and sea bass, and tuna tartare, and creamy burrata laced with parma ham, tangles of French fries, and so on…
I ordered the fattest spears of asparagus, with a little pot of mousseline for dipping. Simplicity at its most decadent.
And then to bed.
This morning I was up bright and early for more scrambled eggs (I was a laser guided, egg-seeking obsessive from the moment I awoke).
A fleet of black cars awaited us after breakfast in the rue de Rivoli to take us to the Palais de Tokyo, and we spent a blissful few hours being shown around the No 5 Culture CHANEL exhibition by CHANEL’s Chef de Patrimonie, of which more shortly.
And then back to London on the Eurostar, arriving home just in time for a tea and cake session to discuss ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings (and rabbits) at Yumchaa in NW1 with Mr Fury.
Really, I think this could be a contender for the most perfect, frankly most indulgent twenty-four hours I have experienced in quite some time.
No 5 Culture Chanel, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, until June 5. www.5-culture.chanel.com. Admission is free
EDIT: In answer to questions, at the Meurice I am wearing a French Connection black silk chiffon & lace shirt, Lulu Frost for Whistles diamante necklace, J Brand navy denim cigarette pants & scarlet Valentino Rockstuds. AT CHANEL I am wearing a black satin backed crepe tuxedo jacket by Maje, over a silk chequered Whistles frock, with red & pink strappy high heels from Zara. The Valentino shoes & Whistles pieces were gifted, the rest were bought by me.)